About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Friday, 6 May 2011

30 Day Poetry Challenge - Days 7 to 9

Day 7: A poem that reminds you of a certain event

My middle two children were diagnosed with severe autism aged 4 and 3. I tried to accept this but my intuition was in revolt even as they rampaged through life. Then, one afternoon, Jenny gave me a kiss. Two days later I came across ‘Rondeau’ by Leigh Hunt. Google it and you’ll learn that i
t was written in honour of Jane, wife of Thomas Carlyle, but that’s bollocks – it’s about my girl.

Day 8: A poem you know by heart

Necessarily short, then!

Odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

And my own loose translation:

'I hate and I love. How can that be? You might well ask.
I don’t know, but I bear the brunt of it, and I am in torment.'

'Without Catullus there would be no pop music.' Discuss.

Day 9: A poem you'd read in bed to your lover

'Kubla Khan' by Coleridge

Incense and moonlight; a holy and enchanted bed; my gilt-embossed, lightly foxed and slightly musty edition of Coleridge; and someone with whom to trace sinuous rills and the meanderings of that sacred River Alph from its rising to its delta … ah, fountains, honey dew, milk of paradise … turn the page … damn that Person from Porlock!

(Couldn't find a suitably purry rendition; here's an interesting one instead from Julien 
Temple's entertaining (if somewhat inventive) film, Pandaemonium.)


  1. Interesting to read Catullus sandwiched between Hunt and Coleridge. My memory is usually even shorter---"Odi et amo..." That one and 'Jenny kissed me' are good practice. While refreshing my memory of Stevie Smith's 'Thoughts about the Person from Porlock', I happened on poet Tom Clark's great blogspot: tomclarkblog.blogspot.com
    which this February featured Smith's poem and 'Jenny kissed me' almost back to back, with interesting comments and the beautiful photos and reproductions which are usual there. Check it out!